Hazel is shy and sensitive and wants to be an artist or singer. However, at age eighteen, she commences her registered nurse training at King's College Hospital, London, to escape from a difficult home life and become independent.
Training in midwifery, tropical diseases, and cardiothoracic nursing, her love of art and music mingle with her nursing life, as she sings to the dying, makes Christmas decorations for the wards, and turns her room in the nurses' home into a miniature art studio.
She emigrates to Australia in 1977.
From nursing leprosy patients at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London, to suturing wounds on Heron Island, Queensland, Hazel writes candid stories of triumph, tragedy and hilarity, and expounds the close human connections that are formed between nurse and patient.